White Haven Mysteries 

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Turn the light off and the computer sound up is the way the developers of this next game believe it should be played. I must admit I did not take their advice.

You arrive at what appears to be a deserted and derelict house.  Waiting to greet you is a young girl who seems to know all about you.  According to this girl you should know the place as you have been there before.  However your memory is playing tricks on you as you have no recollection of the house or of meeting the girl before.  In fact, thinking about it, you can not even remember your name.  Perhaps the answers to your memory problems, and why you are here, could be found in the house.  You just need to be aware that everything may not appear to be what it seems to be as you meet up with the young girl again and encounter a disembodied voice that claims you are a test rat.  This rather confusing introduction is the lead-in to White Haven Mysteries from GoGii.

Available from Avanquest as part of its GSP game catalogue in Collectors’ Edition format, White Haven Mysteries is a Hidden Object Adventure game.  Additional items include a guide that can be accessed whenever you are stuck and will open at the relevant section.  You also get a bonus chapter, wallpaper and sketches which are unlocked once the main game has been completed.  According to the developers of this game, White Haven Mysteries should be played in the dark with the sound turned on for the best experience but don’t let that put you off – the game is not particularly scary.

Whether you play the game in the dark or not, you do have a choice of Regular or Expert mode.  With the former you get a quicker recharge of the Hint feature and the Skip feature appears sooner for the various puzzles plus a couple of Hidden Object sessions (more on this a little later).  Active zones will be highlighted by sparkles.  Actually the sparkles are more like shimmering tadpoles in this game.  Hint recharging and the Skip appearance take longer in Expert mode and the tadpoles are totally absent.

There is a brief tutorial which introduces the various cursors for examining, interacting and navigating the insides of the house and its grounds.  Running across the bottom of the full screen view of the current location is your inventory which remains hidden until its area is invaded by the cursor.  On the left of the inventory are the Hint and Menu features while the right side contains the Guide and a Journal that automatically records the information you uncover.

While not as much as in some games, there is a certain amount of back-tracking required as you move around the house and its ground.  You are allowed a degree of freedom in movement when tackling some tasks.  However to make progress you need to have completed all the tasks in whatever order you choose.  Certain items will be required to activate puzzles which generally tend to fall into the easy and medium difficulty range.  I was disappointed with the puzzle aspect of this game.

Like the locations, which need to be revisited, the game does re-use some of the Hidden Object scenes although the list of items, running across the bottom of the scene, does vary its content.  Generally these Hidden Object scenes consist of a cluttered arrangement of items from which you need to identify those that are listed.  Occasionally you will need to find more than one of a particular item.  I did come across one rather annoying situation when a spade was included in the list to find.  The scene contained a gardening spade and the spade symbol.  As normally happens in such instances, the first spade I found was the wrong one.

As mentioned earlier, two of the Hidden Object scenes have a Skip feature.  These scenes consist of a chair and a telephone that are made up of mini pictures of objects.  You need to search through these mini pictures to find the items in the list running across the bottom of the scene.  I found this type of Hidden Object scene to be far harder than the normal kind.

Along with the various atmospheric sound effects, White Haven Mysteries makes use of voice actors for the three characters that appear during the game.  This approach, and certain other aspects of this game, bear a strong similarity to another GoGii developed title involving a young woman being taunted by a disembodied voice as you explores a building (Trapped: The Abduction).  I was a little disappointed with White Haven Mysteries and felt it was light on content.  The puzzles were not too demanding and, apart from the previously mentioned unusual Hidden Object scenes, the rest of the game could easily be completed within a couple of sessions.

Priced at £10.20, White Haven Mysteries requires a 1.8GHz processor, 512MB of RAM and 800MB of hard disk space running Windows XP and later.

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OverallWhite Haven Mysteries rated 52 out of 100

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